Schools as the Heart of Darkness

An Emblematic Dress Code

Evidence suggests that the universe will expand forever and one by one the stars will burn themselves out leaving the universe a dark, cold forbidding place. I was reminded of this distant future when looking at pictures and reading about the women whom the locals refer to as the tent wearers, in a March 15, 2014 BBC posting The Afghan madrassa accused of radicalizing women.

Every woman in a normal, rational, egalitarian society has a chance to shine like the proverbial star and make everyone's world a brighter place, but not the furtive figures hidden underneath a black tent-like garment leaving a madrassa in the northern Afghanistan province of Kunduz.

Tent women

The tent wearers are students of the Ashraf-ul Madares (madrassa). Six thousand women and girls attend this private Islamic school established by two influential mullahs to teach women the Islamic way. The dark full-body covering that is the tent garment is the most outwardly visible sign of an education steeped in Islamic dogma. The women beneath the tents have been told and believe that listening to the radio, watching television, taking photos and working outside their homes is un-Islamic.

The creatures cloaked by the dark looming seemingly ambulatory garments have become Islamic missionaries of sorts and vigilantes roaming the streets reminding women who are not completely clothed in darkness, that they are sinners.

Having not been allowed to shine, they now see it as their God-given mission to make everyone conform to what they have been told is God's Will when in comes to women's fashion and a woman's severely limited role in society.

The black tent wearers are the equivalent of the female version of the Taliban (Students of the Koran). The 1,300 private madrassas (Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states being the likely financiers) of Afghanistan are turning out at an alarming rate these delusional female Students of the Koran.

These women who submit to a god who considers them inferior to men, and who has made men their masters, probably represent a greater danger to the future of Afghanistan and the progress that women have made in that god-forsaken country than their male counterpart.

The male Taliban will seek to improve his lot in life given the chance, which Allah encourages males to do, but not women; their inferior downtrodden status He has made permanent. In the words of Bernard Lewis author of What Went Wrong, Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response:

According to Islamic law and tradition, there were three groups of people who did not benefit from the general Muslim principals of legal and religious equality – unbelievers, slaves and women. The woman was obviously in one significant respect the worst-placed of the three. The slave could be freed by his master; the unbeliever could at any time become a believer by his own choice, and thus end his inferiority. Only the woman was doomed forever to remain what she was.

A spokesman for the Ashraf-ul Madares hinted that arming their graduates to deal with females who don't live, dress and pray like they are supposed to is always a possibility. More reasons to be wary of the expanding ambling darkness.

Bernard Payeur, March 19, 2014